Capturing the Killer Nurse ending explained – how did Charles Cullen get caught?

November 11, 2022
M.N. Miller 1
Ending Explained, Netflix, Streaming Service
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We discuss the ending of the Netflix true crime documentary film Capturing the Killer Nurse, which will contain spoilers. How did Charles Cullen get caught? Let’s dive in.

Capturing the Killer Nurse follows the story of Charles Cullen, and yes, if this sounds familiar, The Good Nurse told a story loosely based on the, let’s say, Cullen Experience. That film followed a nurse, played by Jessica Chastain, who slowly began to suspect one of her best friends and work husband was murdering dozens of patients. In truth, Cullen was an under-the-radar faux angel of mercy killer, a man estimated to have murdered almost four hundred patients over two states, dozens of hospitals, and over 16 years.

And guess what? No one bothered to stop him. The clinical staff did, but not the money men and women who managed finances while hiring him at their medical facilities. Per interviews with clinical staff, Cullen was a medication expert and took pride in teaching other nurses at the facilities. He then began freely injecting insulin or other hard-to-trace heart medications, like digoxin and lidocaine, into patients. After he was caught, he told detectives that he was doing it to spare them pain. However, after interviewing clinical staff and family members, most of his victims were on track to recover. Someone involved in a bicycle accident is not suffering the same as a patient with terminal cancer. However, Cullen failed to differentiate this or didn’t care.

The interviews with the police officers and nursing staff communicate how hospitals, particularly the last one he worked at with the heroic nurse who brought him down, Amy Loughren, tried to warn medical facilities and state boards. However, the state laws failed to communicate to other states, facilities, and insurance companies. The hospitals intentionally derailed police from investigating, including lying about a medication dispensing machine called a Pyxus. Records only went back 30 days; in fact, it goes back years. Loughren obtained the records for the police and wore a wire to finally have Cullen not only pay for his crimes but stop being enabled to continue his treacherous path.

In a police interview, Cullen told police that he felt he could find blind spots and was comfortable murdering patients because hospitals did not want the publicity. This continued for almost twenty years in nine hospitals and six nursing homes. Even if he were finally let go, supervisors would give him neutral and positive recommendations. Why? Simple. Otherwise, it would offer a paper trail of poor behavior that would make them negligible and criminal. This is the result of paying for-profit health care system.

Capturing the Killer Nurse ending explained — how did Charles Cullen get caught?

Charles Cullen was caught by the authorities, with Amy Loughren providing key information on the serial killer’s methods. 

In The Good Nurse, the film ended with Cullen only admitting to three murders and a note that said he was believed to have murdered over 400, which is correct in both films. However, they claimed he never spoke on who and why. The documentary notes that he admitted to killing twenty-nine patients and the attempted murder of six more. The documentary, and a short Google search, say how he briefly explained his excuse. Cullen was killing people in pain, which was a lie.

However, neither film explores if maybe pain is all in the eye of the beholder, which could be a dark sense of empathy. As we know, serial killers lack this, and an angel of mercy killer could graduate from mercy killing to sadistic behaviors. Why? Because of the seductive allure of having power over their victims.

Cullen was sentenced to eighteen consecutive life sentences and is considered the most prolific serial killer in American history. States then supported The Cullen Law, a new legal requirement for healthcare providers to report to the state any employee’s impairment, incompetencies, or misconduct that could affect patient safety and to be disclosed to future employees.

What did you think of the ending of the Netflix true crime documentary film Capturing the Killer Nurse? Comment below.

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1 thought on “Capturing the Killer Nurse ending explained – how did Charles Cullen get caught?

  • November 15, 2022 at 7:58 am
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    I prefer Capturing the nurse killer over tye good nurse as it is more detailed and accurate.

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